President Trump has wanted the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton for some time, and it's possible that he may have finally gotten his wish. According to a letter obtained by The Washington Post on Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions might hire a second special counsel to investigate a range of issues that may include the affairs of the Clinton Foundation and the FBI's handling of Clinton's use of a private email server.
The letter was written by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd and addressed to Robert Goodlatte, Republican chair of the House Committee on the Judiciary. In it, Boyd acknowledges that committee members gave the Justice Department lists of issues that they thought merited investigation by an appointed special counsel. He says that Sessions has decided to comply with some of their recommendations.
"The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters," he writes. "These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General."
Boyd names two of these "issues." The first is the 2010 Uranium One deal, approved under the Obama administration, which let a Russian nuclear energy corporation buy a controlling stake in the mining company Uranium One that runs operations and projects in the western part of the United States. It is unclear whether Clinton had any role in the deal's approval, but facets of the Republican party suspect that she advocated for and also benefitted from it. They point to the fact that Uranium One investors donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while the deal was being reviewed. They also refer to the recent news, first reported by The Hill, that the FBI discovered Russian money laundering and bribery plots — hatched prior to the Uranium One deal — that were meant to bring "Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business" to the United States.
The second issue Boyd names is the way in which the FBI and James Comey, former director of the bureau, handled Clinton's use of a private email server. According to the letter, the House Committee on the Judiciary sent the Justice Department "allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information" and "allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI's release of certain Freedom of Information Act documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016 ... were influenced by improper considerations."
Boyd does not specify which of the many issues raised will be examined or promise that a special counsel will be appointed. Instead, he writes that the prosecutors will "make recommendations" about resources required for the investigations, whether to begin new investigations, and whether to move forward with a special counsel (as happened with the investigation into the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia when Robert Mueller was appointed).
Trump has been threatening to fire Sessions for months; the Attorney General's job remains on the line. For this reason, some commentators have been interpreting Sessions' decision to move forward with these investigations as an attempt to appease the president and secure his position, according to the Washington Post.
As recently as Nov. 3, Trump said that he felt it was "very discouraging" that the FBI and Department of Justice weren't "going after Hillary Clinton." He also said, "Hopefully they are doing something and at some point, maybe we are going to all have it out."
During his campaign for president, Trump promised that he would to hire a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton's use of a private email server if elected. In reference to Clinton, he would sometimes lead his audiences in chants of, "Lock her up!"